When you decide to trust someone, it means that you believe in that person’s integrity.
For criminals, earning that trust is a golden opportunity they will take full advantage of, which is exactly what a Baytown man fell victim to Monday afternoon.
Over $5,000 was stolen as a result.
According to Baytown police, the “trust scheme” first started at a local vape shop in the 6400 block of Garth Road when a man, approximately 45 years old, claimed he was from another country. He asked for a ride to Houston after claiming a taxi had left him. The suspect then pulled out two large rolls of cash out of his pockets claiming to total over $50,000 and offered to pay the victim $1,000 for a ride into Houston.
“As he was doing this a black female walked up and acted as if she was an innocent bystander and told the suspect to put the money away before someone robs him,” Baytown police spokesman Lt. Steve Dorris said. “The female then proceeds to ask if she could ride along to ensure the suspect gets to Houston safely, which the complainant allows.”
The woman tells the suspect he should deposit the money for his safety, and convinces the victim to drive them to her bank in the 4000 block of Garth Road where she would deposit the money. Once they got to the bank, the woman enters and returns moments later with a bank envelope that she claims contains $10,000.
“The male suspect, still not satisfied, wanted more proof he would be able to make such a large transaction, so the complainant agreed to travel to his bank in Houston where the complainant withdrew over $5,000, before returning to the Carl’s Jr. in the 6400 block of Garth,” Dorris said.
Once they were at Carl’s Jr., Dorris said the male suspect asked the woman if she trusted him and the victim with her money, which she affirmed. The suspect then told her to prove her trust by getting out of the vehicle while the victim and the suspect drove around the building with her money.
“The male suspect then asked the complainant if he trusted him and the female with his money, which the complainant affirmed,” Dorris said. “The complainant then let the two suspects, who had exited the vehicle, hold his money while he drove around the building. The complainant then drove around the building and upon his return to the front of the building the two suspects were gone, along with the complainant’s money.”
The two suspects got away with about $5,800.
One of the suspects is described as a black man with a missing or chipped front tooth. He was wearing an orange and white Polo style shirt, black slacks and a black hat.
The second suspect is described as a black female, in her mid-30s and weighs about 280 pounds. She dressed in black pants and a black shirt.
Baytown police say schemes much like this are not unusual, as Baytown has had its share of them.
“This is actually a pretty typical method of perpetrating the scam, the male acts as a victim or person in need of some type of help and offers to pay the victim for that help,” Dorris said. “During the interaction the suspect goes through a type of grooming process with the victim in which the suspect will display some type of outward trust, usually letting them hold something of value, and then convinces the victim to do the same.”
“In this case, the male and female worked together to make the scam more believable as the female acted as a concerned citizen, which was designed to make winning the victim’s trust even easier,” he added.
Dorris says they get calls like this from time to time where the victim doesn’t fall for it but by the time officers get to the area the suspects are already gone, usually leaving the area altogether.
Anyone who has information on this or any other crime is asked to call the Baytown Police Department at 281-422-8371. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 281-427-TIPS, submit anonymous tips online at the Baytown Police Department website www.baytown.org, or text keyword BAYTOWN plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES).